Lodge Members Writing's

What is freemasonry?

 By Brother Thomas G Cooper PM

 

Perhaps if I begin to explain to you what it is not, then that will help you realise more precisely what it is.

Firstly it is not a religion, although it is based on the religious principles of governing yourself to your neighbour to your fellow creatures and to yourself.

It is not a closed cooperation, but it is open to all men of good repute and to high moral standards.

It is not a secret society as many would have us believe, but it is a society of men with secrets.

 It is not a political system. Although it is based on the political correctness of good citizenship.

It is however one of the great institutions of the world.

When we look at its historical past its roots are lost in the great abyss of time.

Since it came into existence dynasties have disappeared, thrones have tottered, empires have crumbled but the order of the freemasonry lives on with undimmed eye strong and influential.

Within the temple of freemasonry men who differ in modes of thought.

Men who differ in social ideals.

Men who differ in colour and creed.

Men who differ in religious beliefs.

Are able to meet around a common alter, share a common hope and seek a common ideal.

That ideal is the building of a universal temple of peace and brotherhood.

When a person joins the craft they may think or hear it said they have become a freemason.

That is partially true; we have performed a ceremony on them by which they have become a member of our ancient honourable society.

However if you are to become a true mason then the making must take not only within the lodge but within yourself.

The lodge itself is but a symbol, a veil of allegory.

The real lodge Burns Immortal Is the brethren within it and their own individual personalities. This is what you have become; a member of.

Our ancient brotherhood is founded on the principles of faith, hope and charity.

Principles that through the centuries have led to the betterment of mankind.

If masonry is truly lived and faithfully exemplified it never casts a shadow upon a home.

Never wounds a human heart or wrongs a human soul.

It is ever sensitive to the cry of the needy and responsive to the wants of the deserving. It may be regarded as one of the mighty forces working for the uplifting of society.

The greatest power and reality of our brotherhood is that we are bound together in the service of God and humanity.

And its charity is not only confined to the needy and distressed, but embraces the broader view of exemplifying the true fraternal duties and obligation that man owes to man.

The real principles of masonry are to be found in the hearts of men.

Not in the form of badges or watch chains.

It teaches us to try to make an effort and the amount of effort should be the cause by which to determine the result.

The requirements that we believe in God and the fact that Masonic ritual includes prayer and praise does not make freemasonry a religion or indeed a substitute for religion.

Masonic teaching has no relation to the doctrines or the church, but we do however proclaim our reverence to God.

Freemasonry offers no sacraments: if the Christian wants spiritual grace then they must go to church.

What it does do is gives= us a moral stability which we can and to the spiritual teaching we receive from our religion.

Visiting other Masonic lodges is a very important part of freemasonry.

Looking back on the dawning of civilisation when man first lay stone to stone, did the first tradition of visiting freemasonry begin.

At that time mans inspiration grew almost as fast as the skill of the building to raise mighty structures.

But to raise the structures vast numbers of workmen were required.

And so to protect their skills and craft they formed themselves into lodges.

Tradition has it that if a journeyman had to travel to find work, he could always rely on food and shelter when visiting another lodge.

And so it is to this day.

It is through visiting other lodges we realise the universality of the brotherhood.

Today we are largely a world of town dwellers and perhaps there is no one lonelier than a town dweller surrounded by so many yet knowing so few.

Freemasonry provides us with the opportunity of gaining friends; not only in our own lodge but also in the lodges we visit.

It gives men a common interest upon which many a casual meeting has developed into a lifelong friendship.

It is the lack of friendship and brotherly love which the world is suffering from today.

It is a wonderful experience for men to feel the bond of brotherhood uniting them to one another in masonry.

This is what masonry is about; it’s not just a spare time activity

It is an activity which gives us the opportunity to share in fellowship with one another.

One of the most important aspects of freemasonry is not so much how many men we can get into the craft.

But even more importantly, how much of freemasonry we can get into men.

Since way back in 1716 The Grand Lodge of Scotland, and since way back in 1816  the Provincial Grand Lodge of Lanarkshire Middle ward have not only worked well , they have worked wonders in keeping Scottish Freemasonry to the fore.

In every corner of the world wherever freemasonry is represented the Grand Lodge of Scotland is at work.

Going into Grand Lodge for the first time is a wonderful experience in fact it is an experience never to be forgotten.

The Grand old lodge doesn’t just look good.

It feels good.

And it does you good, to know that you are worthy of being part of such an organisation.

The Grand Lodge of Scotland has a long and distinguished history with many honours and a record of service that we can be proud of.

It has come a long way in its pioneering days and like the daughter lodges it owes much to its founders.

These were brethren who not only conceived the idea of the Grand Lodge of Scotland, but also did much to set the standards that exist to this day.

It has been said that the greatest art of all is the art of living.

It has also been said to be the art of giving.

Although not a benevolent society, one of its greatest virtues is giving benevolence and donating to charitable organisations.

Benevolence and charity are words which imply that none of us prosper but by the will of God, and so it is part of our duties as Freemasons to help those who are in need.

This has been greatly by the Grand lodge of Scotland the P, G, L of L, M ward and by the daughter lodges.

We do not only give in money, but also in time, service and cheerful inspiration.

It’s easy to be generous when affluent.

But it is going without to give, that builds the character.

Freemasonry has a great historical past.

Scholars claim that its roots go back to the building of King Solomon’s temple.

Certainly much of its basic mythology comes from the Old Testament.

But it also has definite links with the ancient craft of free stone masons.

The masons were skilled men who learned their trade (or craft) in long apprenticeships and were assembled into lodges to build castles or cathedrals and a variety of other buildings of stone.

 

They guarded their trade secrets with prudent care, for the good reason for protecting their jobs, and because they were proud of the high standard of workmanship they achieved and wanted to maintain.

They did so by using the stone masons custom and tools as a basis for teaching morality.

Freemasonry is like everything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it.

Nothing more and nothing less.

Some even complain there is nothing in freemasonry, forgetting that they themselves have put nothing into it.

However if we live by its morals and its teachings, we will receive our reward in life.

Not a material reward but the even greater rewards of inner pleasure and satisfaction as so many Brethren have received in the past.

In this one of the greatest orders on earth every one can do a little, and if each does his part faithfully then the sum of our labours will be exceedingly great.

And we can leave this world stronger in love and firmer in friendship for we pass this way but once.

Lives of good men all remind us that we can make our lives sublime, and when departing leave behind us footprints in the sands of time.